Many of us come to the Internet with dreams of rapid riches; of staying at home with our families, "going to work" in our bathrobes and making lots of money almost effortlessly. The cyber-streets are paved in gold...or so they say.
The truth, of course, is that the Internet is a great medium for conducting business--and you have to know what you're doing.
So, what are you? (Doing, I mean.) These seven questions are designed to ask--and answer--exactly that. Putting your answers on paper will help you clarify what goals you want to achieve and bring you that much closer to achieving them.
Answer these questions honestly. Some are nuts-and-bolts marketing questions; some will require more introspection. Your answers may be long or short, and there are no right or wrong answers. These questions are designed to help you achieve clarity around your goals; the last question will put you on the road to manifesting them.
1. What is My Product or Service?
Some supplemental questions to help clarify this one would be: Who will buy it? Is this something that I would buy myself?
2. Who is My Target Audience?
Be specific. What makes my target customer tick? What is his or her problem? How does my product provide the solution to that problem?
3a. What is Unique About My Web Site?
What will attract visitors and get them to come back? Am I setting my web site and business apart from the rest to attract the visitors I need? And once they're there, what does my web site do to keep them coming back for more?
3b. What is Unique About Me?
What would make people buy from me rather than from my competitors?
Make sure your web site reflects who you are. When designing your web site, make sure you feel comfortable that you and your designer both clearly understand which aspects of your personality you want to come through on your site. People buy from people they feel comfortable with. Self-replicating sites rarely create breakthrough sales.
How can you utilize your own unique strengths to reach your target audience?
This is your opportunity to explore your strengths and build upon them. You may find identifying your strengths a bit difficult; most of us were trained from childhood on not to recognize or acknowledge our wonderful and unique attributes. If you have trouble coming up with 50 wonderful and unique things about yourself, ask the people around you what they like most about you. You'll be surprised at some of the answers!
4. What Excites Me About This Product or Service?
What is it about selling this product or service that makes me happy? If selling this particular product or service doesn't make you happy, write a list of what does. Don't limit it to your business; make a list of everything that makes you happy or excited.
Now: how can you incorporate what's on that list into your business? If your business doesn't make you happy, is it the right business for you?
Once you've written your marketing material or created your web site, ask a few people you know for their opinion. Ask them what emotions, feelings or thoughts they got when reviewing it. Are these the thoughts and feelings you mean to evoke? Remember that people buy from emotion, then create logic to fit the emotion they feel. Does your web site do that?
5. Am I Utilizing Other Communication Tools Along With the Internet?
The Internet is powerful, but it doesn't replace everything else. What other tools can you explore to promote your product or service?
6. What Do I Want to Happen With My Business and Web Site?
Really take some time with this question. Imagine if you could do anything that you want and you could not fail...what would it be? What does this look like? Who is there with you in your ideal picture? Be specific; have fun!
7. What is One Single Daily Action I Can Commit To Doing That Will Help Me Move Closer To My Goal?
Make sure this is one specific daily action that you enjoy doing. Don't turn it into a chore. Choose something that is productive and is joyful for you to do, so that you look forward to doing it.
Commit to doing this one specific daily action for 30 days. Measure your progress; journaling works great here. Spend some time with your answers. Share any issues that come up with your coach, mentor or an objective person.
Celebrate your successes, no matter how small you think they are. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate the lessons learned. Keep your goal and intention before you at all times.
Through achieving clarity of where you are versus where you want to be, you will be closer to achieving your most precious goal.
IRENE BROOKS is President of 3-D Success Partners, a firm that helps small businesses create a constant flow of customers.